WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2014 (LifeSiteNews) — The Senate will vote on a ban on most abortions after 20 weeks' gestation, the top U.S. senator told the Faith & Freedom Coalition's conference last week.
“A bill that protects life after 20 weeks in the womb, a bill that in the past couldn’t even get a hearing, I’ll promise you will be a getting a vote,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said on Friday. “That’s not only good news for pro-lifers, it’s good news for our entire country.”
“It’s high time we did that because, I don’t know about you but I think we’re failing the country if the best thing we can offer to a scared, young mom-to-be is a referral to Planned Parenthood,” said McConnell.
“Is that the best we can do?” he asked the crowd of social conservatives, according to Politico.
The vow came barely a week after the “Unborn Pain Capable Child Protection Act” was introduced by South Carolina senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham. Like its House counterpart, which passed handily after four months of often-acrimonious negotiations in the lower chamber, the Senate version allows exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.
The rape exception caused the House bill to be delayed in what many considered an embarrassing failure by House leadership in January. The original exception allowed an abortion only if a woman reported the rape to police. After the House bill was stopped by several female Republican members, that provision was replaced with language that some pro-life commentators considered more effective.
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McConnell's vow last week follows his prior promise, as the Senate Minority Leader to put the bill on the Senate calendar if he became Majority Leader. However, its passage through the GOP-controlled Senate is unlikely, given that Republicans need 60 votes for passage, and only 54 Senate seats are controlled by the GOP.
Another difficulty is that at least two GOP senators may vote against the bill, even though it has majority support among the U.S. public. Politico named Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine, though other Republicans may oppose the bill. Democrats are expected to largely oppose the bill, and President Obama has promised a veto of the bill if it reaches his desk.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-IA, told LifeSiteNews that “this bill is about standing up for life and protecting the unborn.”
“It’s a step forward in ending risky and dangerous procedures that stop the beating heart of an unborn child and put the health of the mother at risk. As an original cosponsor of the bill and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I’m looking into holding a hearing so we can learn from medical professionals about the latest research on fetal development and a mother’s health.”
Scientific research of fetal development has indicated that children at 20 weeks' gestation can feel pain, something disputed by the abortion industry.